The brains of hyperpolyglots

The Mystery of People Who Speak Dozens of Languages

Last May, Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia, a doctoral candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, in the Dutch city of Nijmegen, flew to Malta for a week to learn Maltese. He had a hefty grammar book in his backpack, but he didn’t plan to open it unless he had to. “We’ll do this as I would in the Amazon,” he told me, referring to his fieldwork as a linguist. Our plan was for me to observe how he went about learning a new language, starting with “hello” and “thank you.” Rojas-Berscia is a twenty-seven-year-old Peruvian with a baby face and spiky dark hair. ….[READ]